Cold War Interview

Cold War Interview

Written by Charles Husemann on 11/2/2004 for

While the US is currently engaged in a "Hot War" in Iraq and Afghanistan the memories of the Cold War with the US have faded somewhat. Almost an entire generation has grown up without the spectre of the "Red Menace" and don't remember the cold ware fought between superpowers from the end of World War II until the late 1980's. This will change later this year when Dreamcatcher releases Cold War from Mindware Studios. The game has your playing Matt Carter, a US journalist caught in Soviet Russia in the wrong place at the wrong time and it will be up to you to get him back home in one piece. I recently had the chance to talk to Michal Hochmajer, a lead artist at Mindware about the game and here's what he had to say.

GamingNexus: Can you describe the plot and setting of the game?
Michal Hochmajer: As the title of the game suggests, it is set in the period of the Cold War between the USSR and the United States, specifically at its end, in the 1980s. Players will be able to identify themselves with an American journalist named Matt Carter, who - during his visit to Russia - finds himself, against his own will, in the midst of a plot reaching up to the highest places.

GamingNexus: What was the inspiration behind the game?
Michal Hochmajer: As for the Russian environment during the Cold War, we did not have to go very far for inspiration. For people living in the Czech Republic (the western part of former Czechoslovakia), Russia and its milieu was something of a next-door neighbor, so to say.

Cold War is not a classic stealth game. Cold War is a SPY game. In terms of its genre, we would classify it, let us say, as an action-adventure. At the heart of the game’s attractiveness is IMPROVISATION - our hero is no super agent, he is simply a man who happens to be "in the wrong place at the wrong moment" and now he must use all of his knowledge, skills and resourcefulness to cope with the emerging situations somehow.

GamingNexus: The protagonist in the game is not your typical action hero, how will this factor into the game?
Michal Hochmajer: Since our main hero is no secret agent, we have avoided the typical limitations of that genre - for instance the elimination of enemies in Cold War is based on the player’s immediate idea, his or her improvisation, and does not stem from any classical, I´ll-hide-in-a-corner-and-bump-everyone-off-with-my-agent-o-matic-gun, attitude.

We have tried our best to create a much more entertaining and open game, rather than devising another cold-blooded killer. We believe that our journalist will be a welcome change for anyone who is no longer keen on wearing a spandex : )

GamingNexus: Do you think younger gamers will understand the Cold War back story of the game?
Michal Hochmajer: Many young people definitely understand the Cold War background to the game since this is a conflict still portrayed in James Bond thrillers, books and the like. In fact, the Cold War was a war waged by spies, traitors and undercover government agencies, and as such it is an ideal backdrop to a thrilling spy story.GamingNexus: The x-ray camera is one of the cooler ideas in the game, what was the inspiration behind it?
Michal Hochmajer: Sorry but that’s a trade secret. If we disclosed that, one of our designers might get killed.

GamingNexus: Can you talk about the other gadgets in the game?
Michal Hochmajer: The underlying principle of the gadgets used in Cold War again proceeds from the fact that our hero is fighting his way through the game mostly by improvising, by preparing various nasty traps for his enemies. The gadgets used are various ‘homemade’ devices in the MacGyver style: traps, smokescreens, special ammunition, etc. It would be a pity to disclose more now. Attentive gamers will definitely enjoy speculating and racking their brains over various screenshots.

GamingNexus: What Russian locations can we expect to see in the game?
Michal Hochmajer: Players will find themselves in the former KGB headquarters at Lubyanka. No less attractive should be a trip to Chernobyl. Gamers will also enjoy sights of the Kremlin Palace, the seat of the President, and they won’t be deprived of a visit to the V. I. Lenin Mausoleum, situated directly in Moscow’s Red Square, either. Simply, all the amazing and truly attractive locations are in the cards.

GamingNexus: Is there a count on how many levels are in the game yet?
Michal Hochmajer: There are 23 levels altogether, with varied gameplay frequently changing in the course of missions.

GamingNexus: About how long will it take the average gamer to get through the game?
Michal Hochmajer: Average duration of the game is around 17 hours, but if gamers want to relish the game to their heart’s content, not wanting to leave a single enemy in doubt as to who's the boss, they may play a lot longer.

I'd like to thank Michal for taking time to answer our questions.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom.   I have been a Microsoft Xbox MVP since 2009.
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